Acalypha wilkesiana

Müller Arg. in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle

Prodr. 15(2): 817. 1866

Common names: Painted copperleaf beefsteak plant match-me-if-you-can
Synonyms: Acalypha amentacea subsp. wilkesiana (Müller Arg.) Fosberg
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 12. Treatment on page 165. Mentioned on page 163.
Shrubs, 20–50 dm, monoecious. Stems erect, sparsely to densely pubescent, not glandular. Leaves persistent; petiole 1–6 cm; blade ovate to broadly ovate or suborbiculate, 9–20 × 4–15 cm, base obtuse to rounded or subcordate, margins serrate-crenate, apex acuminate. Inflorescences usually unisexual, rarely bisexual, axillary; staminate peduncle 0.1–1.5 cm, fertile portion 10–20 cm; pistillate peduncle 1–2 cm, fertile portion 4–15 × 0.5–0.8 cm; bisexual similar to staminate, with 1–2 pistillate bracts near base; allomorphic pistillate flowers absent. Pistillate bracts loosely arranged (inflorescence axis visible between bracts), 2–4 × 3–5 mm, abaxial surface sparsely to moderately pubescent; lobes 7–9, ovate to lanceolate, 1/4 bract length, except terminal lobe to 1/2 bract length. Pistillate flowers: pistil 3-carpellate; styles multifid or laciniate. Capsules unknown. Seeds unknown.

Phenology: Flowering spring–fall.
Habitat: Old home sites, disturbed areas.
Elevation: 0–10 m.


V12 613-distribution-map.jpg

Fla., Pacific Islands, introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, Central America, n South America, se Asia, Africa.


Acalypha wilkesiana is not known in the wild, but presumably originated in the southwestern Pacific Islands (Bismarck Archipelago east to Fiji). The species is commonly cultivated as an ornamental for its leaves that may be various shades of green, purple, red, orange, and yellow (sometimes variegated), and sometimes contorted into unusual shapes. Despite low seed set, it occasionally becomes naturalized in tropical and subtropical areas. Naturalized plants often lack the distinctive leaf coloration found in cultivated plants. Although sometimes treated as A. amentacea subsp. wilkesiana, DNA sequence data show that A. wilkesiana and A. amentacea are distinct species (V. G. Sagun et al. 2010).

Selected References


Lower Taxa


Facts about "Acalypha wilkesiana"
AuthorGeoffrey A. Levin +
AuthorityMüller Arg. in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle +
Common namePainted copperleaf +, beefsteak plant + and match-me-if-you-can +
DistributionFla. +, Pacific Islands +, introduced also in Mexico +, West Indies +, Central America +, n South America +, se Asia + and Africa. +
Elevation0–10 m. +
HabitatOld home sites, disturbed areas. +
Illustration copyrightFlora of North America Association +
IllustratorBarbara Alongi +
Introducedtrue +
PhenologyFlowering spring–fall. +
Publication titleProdr. +
Publication year1866 +
ReferenceNone +
Source xml grained fna xml/V12/V12 613.xml +
Special statusIntroduced +
SynonymsAcalypha amentacea subsp. wilkesiana +
Taxon familyEuphorbiaceae +
Taxon nameAcalypha wilkesiana +
Taxon parentAcalypha +
Taxon rankspecies +
VolumeVolume 12 +